Storage & Shredding: Expert Advice

Arielle Burdulis

Recent Posts

Protecting Your Sensitive Documents: What You've Been Missing

Posted by Arielle Burdulis on Wed, Aug 15, 2012 @ 12:56 PM

So shredding your documents sounds easy, right? Well, part of the process is easy, the part where you find a reputable vendor. There are many shredding companies out there that offer a wide range of services to suit the needs of any size company (and even those who need to have personal shredding done). A reputable vendor can take care of the grunt work for you by performing the hard labor, picking-up your documents and either shredding them or storing them. The not-so-easy part of protecting your sensitive documents is being compliant with data protection laws in ALL facets... having a reputable vendor is just the "tail-end" of compliance.

Before you go looking for a company to shred your information, you need to take a look at the laws that affect you that govern what measures need to be taken in the data protection process. Although reading through each law is important (yes, tedious, but necessary), one important yet ambiguous part of the laws is that they are not specific.  In fact, they are not specific for a specific reason. Most laws use terminology such as "reasonable measures" when it comes to what you "must do" in order to protect your clients or patients sensitive information. So what does a "reasonable measure" constitute? Well it depends on a lot. What you must do, though, is to spend time working out what is reasonable cost-wise and effort-wise for your entity and then draft a written policy on the measures that you have decided to implement.

Your written policy should at the very least include the following:

-What your entity considers sensitive information

-What should be done when someone in your entity needs to dispose of sensitive information

-What training will be given to employees to ensure that all sensitive information is disposed of properly

-What vendor you will be using for shredding and document storage

-What your emergency plan is in the event a natural disaster strikes in the area of your office location

-What your plan is in the event of a security breach in your office

 

Don't know where to start now? Well here's a place, download our Compliance Packet by clicking the button below and get our 11 page packet that includes a summary of Massachusetts Data Protection Laws 93H & 93I, a compliance checklist, and an example of Safeguard's Written Information Security Policy.

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Tags: data security, data protection, document shredding services boston, compliance laws, legal file shredding, Massachusetts State Laws, Federal FACTA, Protected health information, 93H, HIPAA, non-compliance, destruction, document management, Document Destruction regulations, Legal file archiving, federal regulations

Records Management for Legal Professionals

Posted by Arielle Burdulis on Fri, Jun 22, 2012 @ 01:42 PM

Legal As a legal professional, you generate tons and tons of files and confidential client information. Your industry or professional associates counsels you on what you should be doing with this information, how long you should keep it for, and when it can  disposed of. Implementing the safe-keeping and safe destruction of your files though, is what is not so straight forward. Your private information is sacred to you, and you are probably weary of letting it out of your sight and handing it off to some self-storage company or leaving it unsecured in the office basement, as you should be. Then when it comes time to destroy those files of yours whose retention time is up, do you have the office intern sit at a paper shredder and manually feed your papers into an office shredder? How are those "shreds" then disposed of? Hopefully not in the dumpster.

As you can see, there are a lot of questions that arise even with the counsel of your industry advising you on what files to keep and for how long. To get rid of your headache, that is where records management company comes in. A reputable records management company can provide safe, and secure storage in climate controlled conditions where your files can be kept for the remainder of their retention period. When that retention period ends, a reputable records management company will also be able to provide certified shredding where after the shredding, the shreds are recycled so that no traces of your information exist except for the white pulp that may then be used again to fulfill one's morning coffee desires.

Find out what a Records Management company can do for YOU....

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Tags: legal file shredding, Massachusetts State Laws, Boston, Office Records Destruction, 93I, 93H, non-compliance, Legal file archiving, compliance, Document Archiving, Records Storage boston, records storage worcester, identity theft, legal file storage, archiving

Tax Records: What To Keep and For How Long? Get Your Answers Now!

Posted by Arielle Burdulis on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 @ 12:31 PM

Right about now there are two types of people in the U.S., those who have done their taxes, and those who haven't. The big deadline is April 17th... a mere weekend and day away. Luckily, for both types of people, there is no deadline for figuring out what in the world to do with all of your tax and related financial documents, past and present. And thus, the question begs to be asked; how long do I need to keep all of my important tax information? And what do I need to keep?  We will start with this: three years is the golden standard for some tax documents, since that is the amount of time the IRS has to audit someone, but other documents should be kept forever, as they can come in handy in many future situations. We’ve put a table together below to help sort it all out for you…

Document Type

How long to keep it?

What to do with it?

Financial Records

(W-2’s, cancelled checks, receipts, bills, etc.)

3 years (minimum)

Securely shred after a minimum of 3 years

The tax return itself

(1040/accompanying forms, etc.)

Indefinitely

Ideally, secure storage of the hard copy documents is preferred. If that’s not an option for you, another option is to digitize the documents with a scanner and securely shred the paper documents.

Stock Purchase Receipts

(With the date and price paid for each)

Indefinitely

Secure storage or digitize and securely shred

Home Improvement Records

(To help in offsetting taxes if you ever sell your home)

Indefinitely

Secure storage or digitize and securely shred

We recommend keeping hard copy files of all of your documents until their retention time is up rather than digitizing them due to the possibility of a data breach that could lead to your digital information being stolen. Identify and credit card theft is all too common these days and any ways to reduce that possibility are always stressed and thus, the secure shredding of all of your tax and financial records once their retention time is up is necessary to keep ensuring that your information has no way of getting into the hands of a thief. The best bet for shredding is always utilizing a shredding company, brownie points if they are NAID members, who use shredders that not only tear the papers into easy to put back together strips, but pulverize the paper, turn it into pulp, and then recycle it.

Tax season already has its drawbacks, so don't let information theft be one of them... request more information on keeping your information secure by clicking any of the buttons below!

 

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(See this article for more specific information on what the above is a summary about: http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2012/04/02/149714051/you-should-keep-tax-records-but-how-and-for-how-long)

 

Tags: data protection, document shredding services boston, shredding worcester, 93I, stolen identity, shredding tax information, Shredding company, 93H, tax records, document shredding services worcester, Certified document destruction, identity theft

Records Management that Doubles as Risk Management

Posted by Arielle Burdulis on Mon, Mar 19, 2012 @ 01:19 PM

Have you made sure your data is safe? If not, there is a chance it will cost you financially. It could ruin your reputation as well.

In a recent news story, MetLife, headquartered in New York City, whose revenues topped $50 million in 2008, felt the effect of laws involving data storage security. Because they failed to use records management as risk management, they were fined $70,000. Apparently, when they moved from one location to the next, they discarded a lot of trash in the dumpsters outside the office. In it were sensitive records containing social security numbers, addresses and financial account information of people who were current and former clients of MetLife. The hard copy files remained in dumpsters outside the building for well over three days. During this time, anyone could have acquired the information and used it for identity theft.

In North Carolina, a news article from 2010 about Prompt Med spoke of a $50,000 fine, from the urgent care unit having thrown into a dumpster sensitive information including financial accounts and identification numbers of over 700 patients. Records management as risk management would have clearly helped here.

The Carolina Center for Development and Rehabilitation was highlighted in this article for having illegally disposed of the financial information of nearly two thousand patients in 2011. The fine for this was $40,000. The senior officers had plenty of warning about records management as risk management from the above previous incidents, but did not learn from it.

More and more information these days must be secured and companies are having to treat records management as risk management. With the advent of identity theft, any written, electronic, or printed records must be protected if they include personal information about a client. And if the records are to be discarded for any reason, they must be destroyed in a proper fashion, so that the information contained within is kept safe. From this was born the idea of records management as risk management.

Risk management rpocedures are extremely important to implement to prevent Identity theft. Identity theft is any person's personal information being used by another to illegally remove money from bank accounts, acquire loans and passports and commit other crimes. Identity theft is now also known as identity fraud.

There are state and federal laws in place across the country to ensure that the destruction of certain files is done so properly, in order to prevent Identity theft. If proper measures are not take, then the company responsible for not following the precautions can be given some fairly big fines.

In Massachusetts, the laws that aid in the prevention of identity theft are called the General Law 93H and 93I, and are applicable to all companies in the state of Massachusetts secure all data that include personal information, such as bank account numbers, credit and debit card numbers, and the like that have the ability to create identity theft opportunities.  

In addition, each company must have safeguards, by the employment of valid identification systems, in order to keep non-authorized personnel from gaining access through computers, or in hard copy files. The company must also keep all locations safe from outside the company. On a regular basis, companies shall be audited to ensure they within compliance. According to the 93I, a company must document the policy of their destruction procedures.

The fines for non-compliance of 93H requires for the company to pay five thousand dollars for each record that was not kept safe. For 93I, the fine is one hundred dollars for each record, with a cap of fifty thousand dollars. These ordinances came into law in 2005.

In addition to state laws, The Federal FACTA Disposal Rule maintains any person or business using consumer reports must make sure all the information within those reports remain completely secure when discarded.

In summary,the risks that someone takes for improper document disposal are inexplicable. Primarily, risks cannot be taken anymore because it is the law to practice safe and secure document disposal, but secondly when there are a multitude of risk management strategies available through document shredding and management companies, how can someone not take advantage of a simple way to reduce risk?

Need to start managing your risk? Or change your strategy? We can help... click on any of the buttons below to be on your way to a risk management solution!

 

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Tags: data protection, compliance laws, Records management, shredding worcester, Massachusetts State Laws, Office Records Destruction, 93I, Federal FACTA, 93H, Records Retention, HIPAA, document management, Document Destruction regulations, compliance, federal regulations, document shredding services worcester, records storage worcester, Certified document destruction, identity theft, shredding boston

Is Small Business Records Management really necessary?

Posted by Arielle Burdulis on Wed, Dec 07, 2011 @ 01:26 PM

Your Small Business Records Management CompanySimply put, yes, yes, and YES! Records management might seem more like something a larger company should be concerned about, but even small to mid-sized businesses need to take caution in making sure their records are safe and organized.

Records management for small businesses can range in price and available services, but, if you find a reputable records management company, they can likely give you a customized quote based on the needs and budget of a small business or office. Here are some things to consider first and why records management is so important for all businesses.

Physical or paperless?
Record keeping has seen many changes throughout the years and now businesses have the option of going paperless. The term “paperless” is misleading though, because paperless offices will likely still have important physical documents that need to be stored and retained for a certain period of time, some for the life of the business. For what is paperless (i.e.- hard drives, media tapes, etc.), a records management company can keep your digital information safe and secure.

While physical record keeping will likely always be necessary, record keeping without organization can lead to wasted time and money. This is where a reputable records management company can really do wonders for your small (or large!) business.

Organization and archiving
It might sound a little cheesy, but; an organized office is a happy office. There is less frustration and stress because everything is where it needs to be and can be found easily--a records management system does just that, even for a smaller business.

Businesses who cannot rely on dozens of employees to keep them organized need to rely on a system that can keep them constantly updated and archive their important records and information. Sometimes, smaller businesses have a bad habit of archiving and saving everything. While a good precaution, this can turn chaotic.

A records management company can help any business make sure all important documents are properly archived and organized and that unnecessary documents are shredded at the end of their retention time. And all this can be done on just about any budget.

Protection and prevention
An added benefit of having a records management company is that your documents likely be better protected from naturally occurring disasters, security compromises, and other bad scenarios. A records management company can help protect records from:

  • Fire, flood, earthquake, or other natural disasters at your office location
  • Physical Security breaches
  • Security breaches from an online attack

Even small businesses are liable for the damage that can be done from disaster and security breaches. Every company, whether it is three employees or three thousand, needs to take steps to ensure all information secure and protected.

Final notes
All in all, records management isn't just for the big guys in business. Smaller businesses can benefit from companies like Safeguard Records Management because of the specialization it affords to them.  

Here's a recap:

  • Implementing records management means small businesses will save money in the long run.
  • Everything will be properly archived and easily accessible, saving time and money.
  • Offsite services can protect and organize your records, letting you manage your business hassle-free.
  • More work can be done in the time saved and there will be better efficiency in day-to-day tasks.

Don't fall behind simply because of improper record keeping. All types of businesses benefit from properly managed records and having it done properly by professionals, no matter how large or small.

Consider it a requirement for all businesses to run smoothly and provide the best service they can to their customers without worrying about their files being where it they need to be. That only reflects poorly on the business, and no business should look unprofessional because of something that can be simply (and cheaply) fixed.

 

Tags: data protection, records, Records management, Records Retention, document management, Document Archiving, records storage, records management system, Records Storage boston, records storage worcester, Records Management companies

A woman passionate about Veterans not only on Veteran's Day

Posted by Arielle Burdulis on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 @ 03:51 PM

 

No words needed to describe the video, just watch, and feel...

Remembering the veterans of yesterday, today, and tomorrow

Extreme Shredding....next Olympics?

Posted by Arielle Burdulis on Wed, Feb 23, 2011 @ 07:30 AM

 

Extreme Shredding....next Olympics?

Safeguard Macy's Gift Card Sweepstakes

Posted by Arielle Burdulis on Tue, Jan 05, 2010 @ 07:04 AM

Macy%27s CardUpdate your contact information with Safeguard at our NEW WEBSITE and be eligible for a $75, $50 or $25 Macy’s Gift Card

Go to http://www.safeguardrecords.com/ and click the Contact Us link. Update your company information in our contact form and include the words “Macy’s Gift Card” in the comments box. Then sit back and wait for the good news.

You will be eligible for all 3 cards - 3 chances to win. Make sure to put your name as the company contact. We’ll be in touch when you win!
Opportunity ends on January 30th 2010

10 Questions Everyone Should Ask Before Storing Office Records Offsite

Posted by Arielle Burdulis on Wed, Dec 02, 2009 @ 06:55 AM
office records offside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before choosing a professional to handle your
company’s information management needs, ask
these important questions.

1. Can I access information 24 hours a day,
seven days a week, 365 days a year?

2. Are your employees required to
sign confidentiality agreements?

3. Do you allow employees to
smoke on the premises?What
measures do you take to protect
information in the event of a fire?

4. Can I review and photocopy
documents onsite? How large is
the client viewing area? Are
there any time or volume limits?

5. Are your magnetic media storage
facilities and transportation
vehicles climate controlled?

6. What is your normal turnaround
time for pickup and
delivery? Are emergency
delivery services available?

7. What security measures control
access to the building and
ensure my confidential information
is protected?

8. What type of inventory tracking
system do you have in place?

9. Does your facility have measures
in place to protect my
company’s information against
damage from natural disasters,
such as earthquakes and flood?

10. If my information needs to be
destroyed,what's the process?

For the answers to these and all your other Records Management questions, call Sean Kelly 508.795.1015. Let Our Office Be Your Back Office.

Important New Data Protection Laws Regarding Sensitive Information

Posted by Arielle Burdulis on Thu, Nov 05, 2009 @ 06:28 AM

What are 93H & 93I?

Laws Affecting your business

Massachusetts General Law 93H
93H requires all businesses in Massachusetts to take serious measures to prevent identity theft. Any business holding the name of a Massachusetts resident and their Social Security Number, Driver’s License Number, or financial account number (including credit or debit card numbers) is subject to this new Massachusetts data protection law.

What are you required to do?

Among the compliance standards for this new data protection law include the following:

A written comprehensive information security program (CISP).

Controls on employees’ access of sensitive information, including physical security safeguards, computer user access levels and user authentication protocols.

Security measures on computer information systems, including data encryption, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and firewalls.

Periodic review of audit trails and monitoring of systems for unauthorized access.
Proper disposal of sensitive information, as outlined in new Massachusetts data protection laws.
Massachusetts General Law 93I.

93I requires the shredding or destruction of any paper files containing sensitive information and the erasure or destruction of any electronic files or data storage devices containing personal information of employees or customers.

93I also requires a written policy regarding the disposal of sensitive information.

What are the penalties? 


A violation of 93H levies fines of up to $5000 per record compromised.

A violation of 93I levies fines of up to $100 per record compromised with a maximum of $50,000.

This does not take into consideration the loss of your company’s hard-earned reputation and the potential loss of credit.

Safeguard can help guide you through compliance. Call Sean at 508.795.1015 for a Free Assessment, email Sean at operations@safeguardrecords.com or log onto www.safeguardrecords.com for industry specific information.

 

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